News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Fans reach out to help ailing singer

In April 2009, a full-house crowd gathered in the Sisters High School Auditorium for a concert by Hal Ketchum, part of the Starry Nights series that has raised over $1 million for the Sisters Schools Foundation.

Katie Cavanaugh’s voice rang out in the darkened auditorium as the veteran country music singer-songwriter took the stage. Ketchum looked up from tuning his guitar, nodded, then ambled to the microphone.

“What’s left of me,” he said.

Then his band ripped into a driving version of “Past the Point of Rescue” to kick off a 90-minute set that covered Ketchum’s full career to that point. It was one of the highlight events among years of stellar musical experiences in Sisters.

After years of battling severe medical issues, Ketchum has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and has been forced to retire from the stage.

A GoFundMe page has been established to raise funds for Ketchum’s medical expenses at In addition, Gruene Hall in Austin, Texas, is organizing a benefit show for him on February 23. Starry Nights co-founder Jeri Fouts and her husband, Dan Fouts, are helping secure auction items and have commitments from Vince Gill and are reaching out to other friends.

Jeri recalled that, “Hal has been so generous in supporting many causes across the country over the years, and he especially loved coming to Sisters and helping support the Sisters Schools Foundation. His shows were in 2002 and 2009, and many locals will remember the sweet moments when he sang “She Is” with young Noel Chen and Felicia Zandonatti, or performed “Hang In There, Superman” with elementary school singers.”

Author Bio

Jim Cornelius, Editor in Chief

Author photo

Jim Cornelius is editor in chief of The Nugget and author of “Warriors of the Wildlands: True Tales of the Frontier Partisans.” A history buff, he explores frontier history across three centuries and several continents on his podcast, The Frontier Partisans. For more information visit


Reader Comments(0)

Rendered 06/14/2024 16:55